Helpful ReplyFree Plugin to turn any Track into a Bus

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SilkTone
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2015/01/31 13:38:55 (permalink)

Free Plugin to turn any Track into a Bus

The original thread here was a bit vague on what the purpose of the actual plugin was, so I thought a thread with a more specific title might be helpful for people that could use a bus inside the track view. If nothing else, it might just make it visually more convenient to have tracks and their related busses all in the same track folder.
 
The idea is very simple. All the plugin does is present a "sidechain" input to Sonar. This makes the input available to any track or bus's output, or any track or bus's sends. The plugin then mixes this sidechain input with the main signal going through the plugin. The end result is that you can:
  • Send the output or send(s) of one or more tracks into another track. The destination track(s) then becomes a "track bus".
  • Send the output or send(s) of a "track bus" into yet another track. So you can create a complex chain for a signal where it can go through as many "track busses" as you want. I tested this by having many cascading "track busses" and it all works.
  • One can also put an FX bin with a Sidechain Mixer into the PC (move the FX bin to the top), and use that "track bus" to do PC processing with.
  • Insert multiple FX bins along various points along the PC so that you can insert signals from different tracks at different points. Not sure if it can be useful, but it works. You can also add multiple Sidechain Mixer plugins into the FX bin of a track or bus as a way to insert different signals at different points along the FX chain (once again, useful?).
  • Feed the output of an actual bus back into any other track.
 
As an example, I have a "Vocals" track folder containing a track called "Clean Vocals". This track then has multiple sends that each go into the sidechain input of all other "track buses" in the same track folder. The outputs of all those "track busses" then go into a final "track bus" that serves as the main bus for the track folder. Now you can do all of your parallel processing right in the same track folder without needing to do it in a real bus. For instance one of the track buses is a "sizzle bus", based on Craig's tip #50.
 
All of the Craig Anderton tips involving a bus can be done inside a track folder without using an actual bus. For example:
 
You can find the plugin here. To use: 
  • Unzip the files.
  • Copy the 32-bit and/or 64-bit files somewhere into your VST3 folders.
  • Let Sonar do a scan.
  • The plugin shows up under Plugins > Audio FX > VST3 > Sidechain Mixer (or wherever you put it).
  • Drag/drop the plugin into the FX bin of the track that you want to convert to a bus.
  • Set the output of any other track to "Sidechain Mixer(Input 2)-[track bus name].

  Some points: 
  • If you solo the track bus, Sonar will not solo the tracks feeding into the track bus. To get around this, solo the whole folder, or group the solo buttons together. Use Ctrl+Click to toggle individual buttons in a group. Note there is no need to group the mute buttons since they will work as expected.
  • You need to set PC to Post-FX if you want the signal to go through PC.
  • You only need one plugin per track bus. You can send the outputs and/or sends of as many tracks and/or busses to the same sidechain input as you want, and Sonar will mix them together before sending it into the plugin.
  • If the 1st input into the plugin is mono, it will cause all other inputs to the same plugin to be mono as well. To work around this, make sure at least the 1st input is from a stereo source.
  • I only tested the 64-bit version so let me know if the 32-bit version doesn't work.
post edited by SilkTone - 2015/02/23 11:53:18
#1
swamptooth
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/01/31 13:57:09 (permalink)
I've already taken to adding multiples of these into tracks, each in their own fx chain so I can automate the fx chain's output volume for mixing.  You guys ferreted out a couple of neat ideas there!

 
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Paul P
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/01/31 14:26:52 (permalink)
 
SilkTone, thanks for this.
 
Is the link you provide in this thread to the same version of your plugin as in the original thread ?
 
Are you satisfied with it the way it is or do you foresee updating it at some point ?
 

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#3
SilkTone
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/01/31 15:00:02 (permalink)
swamptooth
I've already taken to adding multiples of these into tracks, each in their own fx chain so I can automate the fx chain's output volume for mixing.  You guys ferreted out a couple of neat ideas there!



Yes it is still the same version as in the original thread. Other than improve on the corny graphics, there isn't much else to change really. It is the most straightforward plugin I ever made (mix 4 inputs down to 2), so unless someone reports a problem with it I don't foresee spinning a new version.
 
The only change I can think of is a way to possibly deal with the situation where the first input is from a mono track. In that case, it forces all subsequent inputs to mono as well (as pointed out in the original thread and confirmed by Noel). I was thinking that if I give it 5 inputs instead of 4, there could be "Stereo" input as well as a "Mono" input. So you would feed all your mono tracks into the Mono input only, and all your stereo tracks into the Stereo input. I'm not sure whether this will work around that issue or not, but I might give it a try at some point.
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SilkTone
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/02/01 12:22:26 (permalink)
Re the idea mentioned above... I played with 1 Stereo + 1 Mono sidechain input, but came to the conclusion that it doesn't make a difference. If your 1st input is mono, Sonar will still force all other inputs to mono, regardless of whether the 1st input is going into the dedicated "Mono" sidechain input.
 
It's not a big issue really, just make sure your first input isn't mono. So therefore the version linked to above is still the latest.
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swamptooth
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/02/01 12:30:57 (permalink)
How about if you have one in a prochannel fx bin and another in a regular track fx bin?

 
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#6
SilkTone
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/02/01 13:10:24 (permalink)
swamptooth
How about if you have one in a prochannel fx bin and another in a regular track fx bin?



That will work fine. It is only a problem when you mix mono and stereo inputs going into the same plugin. In fact, you could place two SideChain Mixer plugins back-to-back into the same FX bin and feed only mono inputs into the one, and only stereo inputs into the other.
 
I would think this is really a bug in Sonar. If any plugin has a stereo sidechain input, all other inputs would be forced to mono if the 1st one happens to be mono. Now probably there aren't many/any other plugins right now that care about whether the sidechain input is stereo or mono (other than Sidechain Mixer now), but there could be (I don't think the Sonitus plugins care). I imagine Sonar does this as a performance optimization (albeit minor), but ideally it should look at all inputs and if at least one is stereo (not just the 1st one), treat the input as stereo. After all, the plugin did present the sidechain input as stereo.
post edited by SilkTone - 2015/02/01 13:43:46
#7
robert_e_bone
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/02/01 15:41:42 (permalink)
TOO COOL - thanks so much for this! :)
 
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/02/21 20:32:27 (permalink)
Now all we need is to be able to work out how to feed the signal into a tracks input rather than fx bin. I appreciate that it's probably not an easy thing to do???

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Dave Modisette
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/02/21 20:40:27 (permalink)
mudgel
Now all we need is to be able to work out how to feed the signal into a tracks input rather than fx bin. I appreciate that it's probably not an easy thing to do???

That would have to be on a Cakewalk level, I would bet.

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scook
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/02/21 20:50:50 (permalink)
Yeah, it would be a Cakewalk development or a virtual audio mixer like VoiceMeeter. I played around with this some time ago and it worked but was pretty finicky on my DAW. This is issue is similar to recording plug-ins live, which has been the subject of a few recent threads.
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scook
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/02/21 20:52:47 (permalink)
What I would like to see in Sidechain Mixer is the VST3 header updated to put the plug-in in the Tools folder.
post edited by scook - 2015/02/21 23:07:33
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SilkTone
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/02/22 00:24:07 (permalink)
scook
What I would like to see in Sidechain Mixer is the VST3 header updated to put the plug-in in the Tools folder.



OK try the new one, version 1.1 (same link in 1st post). It should now show up in the Tools folder if you sort by category. You might need to do a rescan, not sure. I did one anyway.
#13
scook
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/02/22 00:47:54 (permalink)
Yes, that works, it was picked up by the auto background scan
Thanks
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Keni
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/02/22 02:13:01 (permalink)
Very cool little idea... Thanks Silktone. I'm not sure when I'll use this but it seems a handy tool to have "just in case"

I'll d/l it when I'm on my DAW...

In line with the people who would like to send signal to another track's input... What if a loopback could be somehow used to re-route signal? This way it would appear as a potential input to the front end of a track without Cakewalk needing to do anything?

...just a thought.

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lfm
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/02/22 02:35:31 (permalink)
Thanks for this - always wanted an integrated bus in track folders.
 
One question arise - anything to look out for where PDC will not be properly calculated?
 
Thinking of the feeding bus back to a track that in turn may have sends etc.
At some point there are feedback loops - and a nono since any pdc cannot be reported correctly.
I already had some weird results in SA2015 with default routings.
 
Is there a don't list?
There are so many possibilities.
 
Thanks.
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SilkTone
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/02/22 12:01:37 (permalink)
Keni & lfm...
 
From what I can tell, you cannot create an infinite loop since Sonar can detect this and prevent you from completing such a routing in the first place. See my comment in this post. This also implies that there should not be PDC issues since the signal path will never loop back on itself.
 
But this is just from my own observations. I don't really know how Sonar works internally but it seems that the correct checks and balances are already in place to prevent these kinds of issues.
 
If we are lucky, Noel might jump in and provide some details regarding Sonar's handling of this.
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/02/22 12:58:41 (permalink)
Thank you for this. I am eager to try this out when I get a chance to sit down later.

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lfm
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/02/22 13:20:55 (permalink)
SilkTone
Keni & lfm...
 
From what I can tell, you cannot create an infinite loop since Sonar can detect this and prevent you from completing such a routing in the first place. See my comment in this post. This also implies that there should not be PDC issues since the signal path will never loop back on itself.
 
But this is just from my own observations. I don't really know how Sonar works internally but it seems that the correct checks and balances are already in place to prevent these kinds of issues.
 
If we are lucky, Noel might jump in and provide some details regarding Sonar's handling of this.




I'll check out the other thread too, thanks.
I know my brain loops at some point thinking over this - what you can do? 
 
Is anything violated when sidechain input does not just control something, but actually is fed through as audio and mixed?
 
If there is pdc not accounted for in this created chain?
If VST3 specs differentiate between input and sidechain in any way?
 
Easiest to put something rediculous like L3 with 3840 samples delay in there and see what happends. Anything going wrong will be heard I gather.
 
Would be neat if it works...
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SilkTone
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/02/22 13:42:54 (permalink)
lfm
I'll check out the other thread too, thanks.
I know my brain loops at some point thinking over this - what you can do? 
 
Is anything violated when sidechain input does not just control something, but actually is fed through as audio and mixed?

 
Nothing is violated. Sonar doesn't know what the plugin does with the audio coming into the sidechain input (and doesn't really care). Mixing it in with the audio going through the plugin is perfectly valid.
 
If there is pdc not accounted for in this created chain?

 
The plugin reports 0 sample delay to the host and also doesn't introduce any delay itself.
 
If VST3 specs differentiate between input and sidechain in any way?

 
No, the plugin just needs more than 1 stereo input. It is Sonar that treats a plugin with more than 1 stereo input as having a sidechain input.
 
Easiest to put something rediculous like L3 with 3840 samples delay in there and see what happends. Anything going wrong will be heard I gather.
 
Would be neat if it works...

 
It should work correctly. The sidechain mixer is a very lightweight plugin that doesn't introduce any delay. It merely mixes two streams of stereo samples together into one stereo stream at sample accurate timing.
 
I believe someone did a PDC test in one of the initial threads and found it worked correctly. But you should do some testing yourself if you personally want to make sure you can trust it.
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lfm
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/02/22 14:23:38 (permalink)
SilkTone
 
I believe someone did a PDC test in one of the initial threads and found it worked correctly. But you should do some testing yourself if you personally want to make sure you can trust it.




Thank you.
Don't get me wrong, I trust the plugin.
It's Sonar I might have doubts if such an implementation is expected or not.
 
I recently had some weird behavior in SA when I forgot to turn off direct signal i TrueVerb on a bus - so direct signal went two ways and created anomalies..
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Keni
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/02/22 14:42:13 (permalink)
Thanks Silktone...

I'm greatly looking forward to playing with this... I'm not sure if I can do what I'm thinking of, but I'm excited to give it a try.

I've always been perfectly comfortable about having my subs separate from the inputs as on most analog boards, it's that way... It makes total sense to avoid feedback loops, but as with playing guitar using feedback, I think it would be cool if it was a users choice with maybe an extra warning when attempting to establish such. Typically I didn't do this on an analog console as the introduction of an extra preamp meant added noise and such... Combining things usually happened in some kind of mult-bay or passive summing bus...

What I was thinking of in my previous message was that Sonar does allow a loopback driver... You can take an output and digitally re-direct it back to the input this way... So I was thinking there might be a way to have a loopback driver running, send the sidechain to this driver, then select that driver as the input of a new channel...?

Just a thought... Right now I'm thrilled thinking that I may be able to finally have a pre-fx send even better that I can position it between whichever fx I choose such as after compression and EQ, but prior to modulations and other assorted devices used in the track's PC and fx-bin...

Thanks!
Keni

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SilkTone
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/02/22 17:18:54 (permalink)
Keni,
 
In theory one can create plugins that send audio between themselves without explicitly connecting them together in Sonar. So one can have something similar to sidechain mixer that can be dropped into FX bins all over the project. Then you can have an overall master mixer (accessed as the GUI of one of the plugins), where you can route signals between all of those plugins together in whatever way you want. I won't be surprised if there isn't already something like that.
 
But that presents other challenges... Unless they are in the same signal path, Sonar will treat each individually, and you won't know in which order each one will be processing the same buffer in time. So maybe A must send to B, but B gets to process its buffer of data before A does, so you can't have a 0 delay plugin. You would need to report to the host that the plugin has at least 1 buffer worth of delay so that you can sync them up. Not ideal.
 
Also, with such an approach one can certainly create feedback loops since Sonar is unaware of and has no control of the signal flow.
 
Anyway, that is a much bigger project to tackle. For now we would need to stick with what extra routing options we can get out of sidechain mixer.
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Paul P
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/02/22 20:26:56 (permalink)
Keni
What I was thinking of in my previous message was that Sonar does allow a loopback driver... You can take an output and digitally re-direct it back to the input this way...



I've been looking at (and mentioned it in another thread) VB-Audio's virtual audio cables.
 
I've download everything from this page to test out, but haven't gotten around to it yet.  The virtual cables look to me like just what is needed (though there appears to be a maximum of three cables that you can run at once) but the developer suggested I use the Voicemeeter instead for a simple loopback.
 
I'll post once I've had a chance to test these things.

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Keni
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/02/22 20:40:27 (permalink)
Thanks Silktone...

I think I follow your thinking...

Let's play with sidechain mixer a bit and see what thoughts and ideas cone up. Maybe that will uncover some new ideas...

Keni

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gswitz
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/02/22 20:51:51 (permalink)
Can't you do this with the old sonitus compress where you audition the sidechain.
 
It's kinda the same thing. This one is just simpler and external.

StudioCat > I use Windows 10 and Sonar Platinum. I have a touch screen.
I make some videos. This one shows how to do a physical loopback on the RME UCX to get many more equalizer nodes.
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mettelus
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/02/22 23:12:07 (permalink)
Thanks again Silk Tone... this is rather neat. One thing that occurred to me is I saw this thread from my phone a few times and "assumed" it was a how-to with existing SONAR routings. Consider updating the thread title to "New VST - Turn any Track into a Bus" or some such. Very nicely done VST - simple, painless, effective... big win!

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Keni
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/02/23 02:29:15 (permalink)
gswitz
Can't you do this with the old sonitus compress where you audition the sidechain.
 
It's kinda the same thing. This one is just simpler and external.


I believe you are right... You can monitor the sidechain feed... Not sure how it deals with mono/stereo...

Never thought to use that for a way to get a pre/post-fx send...
;-)

External? As in not owned by Cakewalk? The Sonitus compressor is owned by them but not actually a part of Sonar... Still a separate plugin... Not that the difference even matter...? ;-)

Keni

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SilkTone
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/02/23 11:42:17 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby gswitz 2015/02/24 05:36:34
Yes the Sonitus compressor can do something similar, however note a difference is that it will not mix the sidechain input together with the main signal going through the plugin, while sidechain mixer does. In most cases it is not critical to have them mixed together, but Noel did say it should be. For instance if the track you turned into a bus also has an actual input assigned to it, the input will be muted if using the Sonitus plugin.
 
You can have one or more sidechain mixers at different points along an FX chain in order to mix signals into different points. I'm not sure how usable this is but it is possible. People sometimes come up with creative uses for such things. The Sonitus plugin will not work for this purpose.
 
mettelus
Thanks again Silk Tone... this is rather neat. One thing that occurred to me is I saw this thread from my phone a few times and "assumed" it was a how-to with existing SONAR routings. Consider updating the thread title to "New VST - Turn any Track into a Bus" or some such. Very nicely done VST - simple, painless, effective... big win!



Thanks! And I updated the title per your suggestion.
#29
LJB
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Re: Turn any Track into a Bus 2015/02/23 12:26:58 (permalink)
I started a thread about this about a year ago using the Sonitus Gate as the sidechain receiver - I got more flack and "what for"s than you can imagine! :O)
 
Thanks for plugin - looking forward to using it!

Ludwig Bouwer, One Big Room Studios.
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